Greetings My Fellow Health Seekers! It's nearly mid-February and Old Man Winter sure has a strong grip on things up here in Maine. Doesn't seem to want to loosen it-even a tad! What happened to the "January Thaw" that we've all come to love and expect? I don't buy into this global warming business. The weird weather we're all experiencing throughout the U.S. this winter is just Mother Nature doing her cyclical thing that she's been doing for eons. At least that's my opinion. Anyway . . . today I will begin a 2-part blog on how to prevent what I call "Lizard Skin" - winter skin itch, flakiness, and associated misery, as well as give you tips on how to treat it if you already have it. In Part 2, I'll share a "Nourishing Oil" recipe to help restore, soothe, soften, and protect your largest body organ . . . your skin.
When the outdoor temperatures are frigid and indoor heating robs the air of all humidity, the skin is the first to suffer.
Dry skin occurs because of water loss from your skin, not oil. Healthy skin, with its natural lipid or oil content, normally serves as a protective barrier to the external world. But, this vital function can become disturbed when the skin is hypersensitive or very dry, often resulting in a condition called atopic dermatitis - simply defined as irritated skin accompanied by tightness, itching, flaking, and redness.
Sound all too familiar? To prevent these conditions due to dry winter indoor and outdoor air, supporting and fortifying the skin with a pure, natural, unrefined nourishing body oil is especially important during the long cold season. Daily application will seal in moisture, strengthen the skin's own powers of resistance and improve its natural barrier function.
Additionally, proper hydration has many benefits, including the health, beauty and comfort of your skin, so drink plenty of water and herb tea. Since caffeine acts as a diuretic, which further "drains" the skin of moisture, avoid caffeinated beverages as much as possible.
Bathing also hydrates your skin, but harsh soaps, soothing hot soaks and showers strip away the essential oils that protect your skin. So, limit your bathing time and use of hot water - sorry, but I had to say it. Use a mild, cream-based soap or soapless cleanser and pat skin dry, don't rub.
Moisturize immediately within minutes of toweling using my Nourishing Oil recipe (which I will give you next time in Part 2), or with your own favorite moisturizer or body oil. Remoisturize throughout the day as often as necessary - especially before bedtime.
Dry skin or "winter itch" or "Lizard Skin" doesn't have to make your life miserable. With consistent care, you can feel comfortable in your own skin again.
NOTE: Portions of this article were adapted from the book, "Organic Body Care Recipes", by Stephanie Tourles, Storey Publishing, 2007 and also from her Ellsworth American newspaper "Health Quarterly" article that appeared on February 3, 2011 entitled "Make Your Own Skin Oil". The information is true and complete to the best of the author's knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles. She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.